Six years ago, before becoming one of the youngest CEOs in the history of a listed company in bag, Alex Rodriguez was a university student struggling with a difficult decision: to stay in school or drop out to build a company to zero.
Rodriguez and two friends from the Canadian University of Waterloo didn’t know if their idea of self-driving vehicles would appeal to investors, but decided to split the potential outcomes. in two groups.
Chances are, Rodriguez said, “Either you learn a lot, it doesn’t work and you go back to school.” “Or things go well and you end up doing what you hope to do after school, which is starting a big business in an interesting sector “.
At the end of 2015, with nearly $ 10,000 in financial assistance from their parents and an entrepreneurship award of $ 25,000 from their school, the trio decided to drop out. They became the co-founders of Embark, a self-driving truck startup with 200 employees that went public in November through a merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, and is now worth over $ 4 billion.
not serious work
In the summer of 2015, Rodriguez and two friends, Brandon Moak and Michael Skopian, co-founders of Embark, decided to build a self-driving golf cart in his parents’ Calgary garage.
Rodriguez then jokingly told his two friends that their future may lie in Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s famous tech incubator, for a laugh.
With his university studies in mechatronics, a department of mechanical, electronic, and electrical engineering, he and his friends have developed a deeper understanding of the technology.
With the help of their parents, who have saved money for a $ 1,800 golf cart, $ 8,000 LIDAR sensor, and a job in Rodrigues’ garage, the three friends perfect the design and the software. Rodriguez’s godfather, a former employee of a GPS technology company, arranged a $ 30,000 loan to start the business.
And in July of that year, the trio entered an early stage competition at the University of Waterloo with their golf cart – and won, receiving $ 25,000. in Initial money from the school’s investment fund, with the university describing their project as one of the first self-driving rides in the Canadian world.
The founders applied for the Y Combinator Accelerator and were accepted into the 2016 incubator startup category, one point in which joke turned out to be true, except they had to drop out of college to travel to the US and stay with their project.
The co-founders of Y Combinator moved from building self-driving shuttles to developing software for self-driving commercial trucks, an industry that investment firm Wedbush expects to attract more than $ 750 billion in investment over the next five years, CNBC reported. Arabiya.net reviewed it.
Through the incubator’s contacts, Embark raised $ 2.1 million from investors, and those investments have increased in subsequent years round in funding to take the company to more than $ 317 million before it went public last month, according to an estimate by Crunchbase.
Previously, in 2018, the company conducted its first test drive of an Embark-driven truck that hauled a payload between the east and west coasts of the United States, placing a human driver in the truck’s cabin for the duration of the trip, ready to take the wheel if needed.
A year earlier, Skopian left the startup, but Moak stayed with Rodriguez as chief technology Embark officer.
Rodriguez expects the company to launch its full program without the need for a human driver behind the wheel by 2024.
Rodriguez stressed that the decision to leave him studio was the best option, as he felt that delaying the implementation of their dream for 3 years would lose momentum, in light of the current competition from many emerging companies and giants alike to develop auto- driving technology.
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